FORT WORTH, Texas – Texas police sergeant has been fired for ordering a rookie officer for using a stun gun on a woman who had called for help in a domestic dispute.
Fort Worth police chief Joel Fitzgerald said in a statement via e-mail that he dismissed Sgt. Kenneth Pierce on Monday, said the 22-year-old police veteran was impatient and unnecessarily started the physical confrontation with the woman, who the police has not called. Fitzgerald is also available as a 12-minute video from the body camera of the rookie officer, Maria Bayona, which he said clearly shows Pierce’s behavior was “absolutely unacceptable.”
“We are built on a foundation of being problem solvers. Pierce responded in an opposite manner, and he escalated the situation in danger of everyone involved, including his fellow officers,” Fitzgerald said in the release.
A lawyer for Pierce, Terry Daffron, held a press conference Tuesday afternoon with the Fort Worth Police Association, the union representing Fort Worth officers. Daffron and eu officials called Pierce the firing of an error, say the details of the call will be sent to the officers said that there was a person with a weapon and noticed that the woman had a knife.
The woman told the police there was a knife in her bag, and directs the police to get her wallet. Fitzgerald described her behaviour as being in accordance with the officers.
Daffron said Pierce is appealing the firing.
In the video, the woman, who is black, can be seen holding her license to argue with Bayona, who asks for her ID. Pierce, who is white, can be seen grabbing her neck, her hair and pulls her head down to try to get the woman in handcuffs. In the video he can be heard telling Bayona “Tase her.”
Daffron said Fitzgerald’s release of only the body camera video is “cherry-picking” its transparency. She released a recording of the 911 call, the call notes of the officers were sent, and a copy of a use of force report on the evaluation of the incident.
Fitzgerald said to the woman, dropped after the video and other evidence reviewed.
The police spokeswoman Paula Fimbres said department officials are still reviewing Bayona’s actions, including the deployment of her Taser in the August twist.
Supervisors shall conduct a mandatory review of officer use of force with the flag of the incident for the review, Fitzgerald said.
Fimbres said that the department had tried to contact the woman whose face is blurred in the video to her statement about the incident for their investigation, including leaving phone messages, mailing letters and leave the information on her address. She said that the woman did not respond.
The release of Fitzgerald said he recognized the case was “eerily reminiscent” of an incident in December 2016, where a white Fort Worth officer responding to a report that a neighbor had choked a boy for littering, and arrested the boy’s mother and sister, who were black. The confrontation between the officer, William Martin, and the mother, Jacqueline Craig, was broadcast on social media by one of her daughters and was millions of times looking at gaining national attention.